Doing Life Together

With the rise of hookah bars, teens tend to think that this trend is a safer alternative to smoking cigarettes. This simply isn’t true.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is warning us that smoking anything increases our risk for certain cancers. Even a single evening of smoking hookah can significantly increase carcinogen exposure (substances that cause cancer).

Researchers at the University of California at San Francisco found that smoking hookah is at least as toxic as smoking cigarettes. They say that hookah delivers a purer, more harmful form of nicotine and other cancer-related substances. And using the inhalant device in a night usually results in inhaling more toxic substances than smoking a cigarette.

After checking urine samples from healthy individuals who were exposed to hookah smoking, they noted higher levels of nicotine. In some cases, people were exposed to second hand smoke in the hookah bars as well. One study noted that hookah smokers were exposed to 56 times more smoke than cigarette smokers (Journal of Nicotine and Tobacco).

In addition to the increased risk of cancer, the carbon monoxide from smoking impacts heart health.

In reality, any product with nicotine is not “safe.” So, if you want to improve your health, find an alternative to smoking!


fightingIt’s a typical Friday night and mom and dad are at it again. Little Jill covers her ears. Billy runs under the table and tries to hide and Angie cries.

The kids are stressed and can’t take their parents constant fighting. All that stress is physical and emotionally hurting them. Their heart rates beat faster. Their blood pressure rises and their bodies are flooded with stress hormones, depleting their immune systems and making them more susceptible to infections and illness.

Their learning is also impacted. Their grade point averages drop and they do poorly on tests. All the conflict is predictive of academic failure. And the more intense the conflict, the worse children do. In fact, teachers will tell you that kids from high conflict homes are more likely to be expelled from school, become pregnant as teens and live in poverty.

Emotionally, living in a hostile home puts kids at risk for psychiatric disorders like depression and anxiety. They have trouble regulating their emotions, knowing how to calm themselves down and can’t attend as well to others. All that bickering creates a powerful sense of a loss of control. And those kids take their childhood stress into their adults lives and relationships.

Bottom line, when parents constantly fight and have high conflict in their homes, kids suffer. Also, please note, it isn’t divorce that does the damage as much as the high conflict fighting. So, if you want to help your kids, stop fighting. Learn to deal with your partner is ways that are respectful and honoring. Solve your problems without all the intensity and drama. Your kids’ physical, emotional and relationship health depends on it!


man sleepingIt is afternoon. You have a talk to give. When you enter the room and begin to set up, you notice people looking rather sleepy. In fact, as you scan the audience, some people are already nodding off.

You think, “This is going to be a challenge! Why are people looking so drowsy? Was it the big lunch they ate? Am I just not entertaining enough to keep their attention or what?”

Truth is, it is probably none of the above. Sure a heavy load of carbs at lunch could intensify the sleepy feeling people are getting, but more is going on with your midday audience.

At midday, people are entering the nap zone—that sleepy time when the brain says, “Take a nap, you need it. I don’t care if you want to be awake, I need to sleep!” Yes, the brain is telling you to sleep and fighting you to stay awake.

Now, most of us don’t have the luxury of taking an afternoon nap no matter what our brain is telling us. But in reality, a little siesta would actually benefit our functioning. The brain telling you to nap is trying to help you function better. We actually fight a beneficial impulse!

Napping benefits the brain.  It helps increase reaction time, reduces traffic accidents, and improves your cognitive functions. And that cognitive improvement lasts about 6 hours after a 45-minute midday nap.

So if you can, next time you are trying to push through a tough assignment or need to be creative, but find yourself fighting sleepiness, take a 25-45 minute nap! Close your door, nap with the kids, and rest! Your brain will thank you by working better!


grief2You are reading an email from a man you are dating. Your gut tells you, “I’m not sure this is the truth.” How do you know if he is lying to you?

It’s tough. With social media you don’t have the advantage of watching the person’s body language or listening to the tone of his or her voice. All you have is written text.

But we do know a few things from research. People have what is called a “truth bias. ” This means our tendency is to trust what people are saying. We want to believe people are telling the truth and may overlook signs of lying.

So what should we look for when we are trying to avoid a scam or don’t want to be duped in a relationship. After all, honesty is the bedrock of healthy relationships.

Here are 10 signs.  Law enforcement has a technique called statement analysis. It entails carefully looking at a person’s words. We can learn a few things from this approach that scrutinizes words:

1) If the person is emphatic about something, he/she may be trying to push a lie. Pushing too hard could indicate too much effort is forcing a lie.

2. Attend to the fact that a person is saying the same thing repeatedly, but in different way. This may indicate that he or she is trying to get you to believe a point of untruth as well.

3. Look for the omission of personal pronouns and references to self. This is a distancing technique. For example, “I really loved spending time with you yesterday and hope we can do it again.” Reply: “Yes, it was a good time.”

4. No answers to  specific questions. You ask and the person doesn’t really answer directly. In some cases, the person may change the subject. This should make you think, “What is he/she not saying or even hiding?”

5. The language or pace of a conversation changes from what you know to be normally. Parents understand this! We know our kids and when they begin talking in ways that are not typical of them, or use words that we don’t typically hear, or even answer too fast or too slow, we know something is up. If you know someone well, you can usually tell if his or her way of responding to you is different from the  normal.

6. Using noncommittal language. When people can’t commit or are unsure, think about what they may not be saying. Hedging on an answer can indicate that they are answering but not telling you the entire story.

7. Lead in statements like, “I’m afraid to tell you…” or “To be honest…” may indicate the person hasn’t told you the truth, things are heating up and you are about to hear more news.

8. Changing the tense (think our current government’s report on crises). As the story is reported in the past tense, the tense suddenly changes and made up events begin to be added. We call this fabricating a story.

9. When you ask to speak to the person in person and the person hesitates, something may be up!

10. Carefully listen for inconsistencies in the conversations. For example, you are talking with someone about his lack of contact with his ex wife and he mentions talking to her about a child. People often slip up when they are lying and don’t get their facts straight.